Sunday, 29 March 2009

To make you want to watch and films you want to play

To be entirely honest I didn’t know much about the GDC and was kinda looking forward to finding something to write about in a kinda of rabbit-in-headlights way.

But then, there on the homepage written in a fairly big but ordinary font read the name ‘Bob Rafei’.

I had no idea he was an advisory board member of the GDC but anyways, my heart skipped a beat at the mere thought of this blog task.

I was going to write about my idol. Not only is he part of the GDC (brownie points there) but it’s a chance for you all to see where it all started for me and how my idol has got me here. But first some background information. Bob Rafei is somewhat a games industry veteran. With 15 years in the industry he is a well respected Art Director that dabs into concept design and animation. He’s famously worked for Naughty Dog inc. working on successful titles such as ‘Crash Bandicoot’ and more recently ‘Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune‘. As the Art Director he is responsible for the iconic style and animation of ‘Crash’ and his character designs are mesmerising.

But, for me, his most awe-inspiring work is his work on the award-winning ‘Jak and Daxter’ series. (yes finally I get to get this all off my chest).

As I’m sure you are all aware the ‘Jak’ games are my absolute favourite games of all time. Not only do they have fantastic gameplay but they incorporate beautiful environments with colourful characters and witty humour. Bob Rafei’s vision and development on these games was a turning point for me. It wasn’t until my Dad brought home a PS2 with ‘Jak and Daxter’ to play on, that I realised what I wanted to do with my life.

But enough about me, this blog is all about worshipping the god that is Bob Rafei. He graduated with a degree in illustration and within a lot of his concept work he primarily uses marker pens that gives ‘Jak’ his iconic style.

Another thing that I admire about him is his illustrative style. Whilst most people prefer realism, I prefer bold, cartoon-y games. The big expressive eyes and stylised ‘elf’ ears is what set Rafei’s characters in ‘Jak and Daxter’ to stand heads above the rest. Not only that but he fuses metallic shapes with organic lines to create some beautiful vehicles and creature designs that really made the world of ‘Jak’ a thrilling experience to explore.

But sadly with the rumours of a fourth game in the series fading fast I have turned my attention to Rafei’s latest venture.

In 2008 he co-founded Big Red Button Entertainment. The aim of this was to have a mission of creating a base of original characters with the intent of (in Rafei’s words himself)
“to make games you want to watch and films you want to play”

I will definatly be watching this space…

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